She said the money to wage the political campaign comes from investments and not from the Sunday collection plate.
With so many constitutional amendments on Tuesday’s ballot, the FCIR thought it important to explain who was backing what.
“[Amendments] tend to be one of the most underreported items on the ballot,” said Trevor Aaronson, associate director of the center, in an email. “Yet these measures can have real and almost immediate effects on Floridians. In my view, one of the best ways to determine what a ballot measure would mean is to look at who’s supporting and opposing it and how much money they’re kicking in.”
For example, one of the big-dollar items is Amendment 4, which would rein in property-tax increases by taking protections now afforded to homeowners and extend them to commercial properties.
Opponents include the Florida Association of Counties, which says the measure will deprive its members of badly needed revenue.
But the deep pockets are on the other side. Supporters and their donations include the Florida Association of Realtors Advocacy ($2.05 million), Florida Association of Realtors Advocacy Fund ($1.7 million), National Association of Realtors ($500,000) and Realtors Political Issues Committee ($15,000).
For passage, an amendment must receive 60 percent of the votes cast on that measure. If a voter skips an amendment because he or she doesn’t know or care anything about it, it gives proponents — in this case, the real estate industry — more of a say.
“Real estate agents say Amendment 4 will invigorate the state housing market by increasing demand,” said Aaronson of FCIR. “That may well be true, but I’m not sure we need more demand. In Florida real estate right now, with the current shadow inventory backlog of foreclosures and would-be short sales, supply is the problem — not demand. So I think it’s hard to see how Amendment 4 will help the real estate market, while it’s pretty easy to see how it’ll make it more challenging for local governments to function.”
If you don’t know a lot about the amendments on the Tuesday ballot, you might want to find out. They could be important if folks are willing to spend this much money to influence the outcome.